Monthly Talk 3rd May 2018


SPEAKER: Dr. Michael Rowe

The development of Pulteney Bridge and Bridge Street.

The Pulteney Bridge is a Grade 1 Listed Building in private ownership until shortly after WWI. The bridge was built with the private money of the immensely rich Pulteney family and with other privately raised finance. It has twice been severely damaged by floods and has suffered many alterations.

The talk will reveal the complexities of the original scheme and the deals and dubious decisions surrounding its final location and appearance. The escalating costs, the impact on the existing city and how it fitted in to the development of Bathwick will be explored. It will be illustrated with rarely seen early images of the city from the Victoria Art Gallery collection and photographs of surviving structures under the bridge and the Gallery. Also included will be portraits and miniatures of the Pulteney family, some of which are still in private ownership.

Dr Rowe has researched the Pulteney family for thirty years and will be happy to answer questions on the origins of the family and the fortune that changed the face of Bath and left us with one of the most photographed structures in the World Heritage Site of outstanding national and international values.


Dr Michael Rowe is a retired consultant Geratrician who worked at St Martin's Hospital and the RUH. He has had a longstanding interest in art and history and is Chairman of the History of Bath Research Group and of the editorial board of the publication Bath History. He is also Chairman of the Friends of the Victoria Art Gallery. He was formerly a representative for the National Art Collections Fund and a Trustee of the Bath Preservation Trust.